‘Neath a starry maple’s shade
I was young, once...young
as the barn roof’s terracotta tiles
hung with moss and lichen; young
as the five kinds of green I see
from the top of this hill. I don’t
mean young in a sense I was like
the skittish colt I tried to ride
on a farm at the end of the lane...
now a housing estate.
No... I mean young in the way
this veranda was built, on the broad,
brown back of a man who made wine
from our grapes...the one who
gathered flowers from the meadow
and painstakingly pressed them,
all winter through, to make a collage
to give me on my birthday; a man
who loved, so very deeply...
I was young in sunlight, filtering
through the leaves, and a heady,
southerly breeze – blew the stars
around...young as the red deer –
feasts on the bark of the vine,
glances furtively around, only
to resume. I was the same, then;
amoral, out of step; plucky
and proud, and a little off kilter.